Ice fishing for Lake Trout

It's way more fun than you can imagine!
Erin Rody
By Erin Rody

Staff Writer for Ontario's Sunset Country

Last Updated: February 21, 2019

Do you have the itch to try ice fishing?

Most people that know me, know I used to hang out inside in the winter where it was warm and cozy. However, over the last couple of years, I've decided to embrace winter rather than hide from winter. 

In between my daughters' hockey games and practices, I've only gone ice fishing for walleye a few times. And let me tell you, there is nothing tastier than fresh walleye in the dead of winter. But I had never ice fished for lake trout and I really wanted to catch a laker.

At the end of January, Rob from Vic and Dot's Camp had a few of us from Ontario's Sunset Country Travel Association out for a day of lake trout fishing on Whitefish Bay. And what a day it was!

Robert Tolen, owner of Vic and Dot's Camp, with one of his many lakers that day

We headed out via snowmachine not too far from the camp. It had been snowing overnight and was still snowing. Big beautiful snowflakes were falling gently all around us. With zero wind, it was so pretty. Like a winter wonderland. 

After Rob drilled some holes, and a gave us a few quick tips on how to ice fish for lakers, it didn't take long for me to hook a trout. My excitement got the best of me though, and I didn't keep the line tight and it got away. We were fishing with barbless hooks (Only barbless hooks may be used from January 1 to Friday before the third Saturday in May), so you have to keep the line tight otherwise, it's fairly easy to lose your fish. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this lost fish would set a precedent for me for most of the day!

Kyle landed the first fish

Rob brought some Vexilar units with him, and all I can say is, wow, they are cool (and addictive). With these units, you can see the bottom and any fish or bait fish that happen to swim by. As soon as I saw a fish, it almost became an obsession for me. If you put the bait in front of him, would he bite? Or would he bite if you dropped it down a bit? Or maybe it would work best if you quickly brought it up in front of him. It was like a game, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Did you need one of these to catch fish? No, but it certainly makes it easier. 

One of the Vexliar units that help us spot lake trout

Not long into our day, I caught another lake trout. This time I was able to land it and finally say I caught a lake trout through the ice! Not the biggest trout ever, but big enough to put a huge smile on my face! I was hooked. This was much better than sitting inside wasting away the winter. 

Erin's first ever lake trout caught through the ice!

Everyone started catching lake trout and Robert caught a decent whitefish. Unfortunately for me, I lost the rest of the fish I caught that day, including a really nice trout that got away as I was pulling him up the hole. Did it make for a bad day? Absolutely not! Targeting lakers on the Vexilar and reeling in the ones I did hook was a ton of fun and I can't wait to do it again. So even though I may have lost more than I landed, I still had a blast. 

This video captures our day. And the last half of the video shows Kyle losing a few, but it really could have been me in that video. Check it out!

There's still a good month if not more, left of ice fishing. I encourage you to try ice fishing for lake trout, especially if you haven't done it before. Rob was a great guide and will put you on the fish, whether you're a beginner like me or a seasoned angler. Give him a call at 807-484-2325 or visit the Vic and Dot's Camp website. They offer self-guided trips or you can hire Rob, which in my opinion is totally worth it as he was both knowledgable and a skilled angler and entertaining to listen to. 

For more information on ice fishing in Sunset Country click here.

Rob caught the only whitefish.